A five-month old puppy is recovering at a veterinary clinic in Ceres after he was found at the Modesto Outdoor Emergency Shelter with his ears completely cut off.
“This is one of the worst mutilations to an animal that I have ever seen,” said Misty Eckerdt, founder of the nonprofit Bandit’s Furends, who has worked in animal rescues for more than a decade.
Eckerdt was called by staff at the outdoor shelter (MOES) because her nonprofit caters specifically to the pets of homeless and low-income people and she is at the shelter every week.
“I wasn’t expecting what I saw when I got there,” Eckerdt said. There was raw flesh on either side of the pup’s head and black electrical tape was stuck to one side.
Despite his suffering, the pit bull Eckerdt named Tank had a good temperament.
“He is very sweet; when I picked him up, his tail was wagging and he was kissing me,” she said. “As I was driving, he kept getting into my lap.”
She took him to American Pet Clinic in Ceres, where veterinarian Amanpreet Basra cut off the dead tissue and stitched the area.
It’s a terrible case, Basra said, but one he’s unfortunately seen several times before.
He said people attempt to “crop” their dog’s ears to achieve a pointed look most often desired by owners of pit bulls, Doberman Pinschers and schnauzers.
“It is purely cosmetic,” Basra said. “I don’t like the ear cropping myself, but there are vets who will do it under sedation, under sterile conditions, done correctly, with antibiotics.”
On Friday morning, Eckerdt went to the clinic to check on Tank and talk to Basra.
He told her that with antibiotics and pain medicine, Tank should be physically healed in about two weeks.
“We just don’t know if he is going to suffer mentally from what happened,” Basra said.
But all the signs were pointing a full recovery in that respect too.
“This guy’s ears were filleted open, and he’s running out of the cage trying to kiss us,” Basra said. “I think he just wanted that human touch … and he got a lot of it here.”
Tank’s case has been reported to the Modesto Police Department, and a supporter of Bandit’s Furend’s is offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Bandit’s Furend’s provides food and other supplies to homeless and low-income pet owners, sponsors free spay/neuter and vaccine clinics, gives free rides to veterinary appointments and temporarily houses animals when their owners are in the hospital, drug rehab or other programs.
The organization had raised more than $2,000 for Tank as of Friday, when Basra told her he’d cover the cost of all his care. He also said he had a friend interested in adopting Tank.
Eckerdt said the money she raised for Tank — unless someone requests their donation back — will be used to pay for future spay/neuter and vaccine programs at American Pet Clinics and that her charity will provide the transportation.
To follow Tank’s progress or donate to Bandit’s Furend’s, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BanditsFurends/